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Officer Paul Jerothe ID'd as Naeschylus Vinzant Shooter, Sparks Fly at Protest

Update: Yesterday, we previewed a second protest inspired by the officer-involved shooting of Naeschylus Vinzant, a wanted felon who was unarmed when he was gunned down near a school; see our previous coverage below.

That protest took place, and it was a noisy and boisterous event, with demonstrators against what they see as excessive police force facing off against supporters of the Aurora Police Department, as seen in videos included here.

Meanwhile, the APD belatedly released the name of the law enforcer who fired the shot that killed Vinzant — Officer Paul Jerothe, a veteran of nearly a decade on the force who has been lauded for his actions in the wake of the 2012 Aurora theater shooting.

The 2013 Aurora Police Department annual public safety report notes Jerothe's award as the Tactical EMS Officer of the year, as judged by the National Tactical Officer Association. The item accompanying the photo seen here reads:

In September of 2013 Officer Paul Jerothe who serves as a paramedic with the SWAT Team was named the Tactical EMS Officer of the year by the National Tactical Officer Association (NTOA).

Officer Jerothe received the award for his actions during the Theatre Shooting and his contribution to the education of police officers in combat casualty care.

In addition, Jerothe is positively mentioned multiple times in another 2013 APD report. He received a first-responder award, a life-saving award, a distinguished-service cross and was cited for fine work in the following case:

On October 25, 2013, at approximately 1953 hours, the Cricket store at 10330 E Colfax Avenue was robbed at gunpoint by three male suspects. Officers Romero and Douglass quickly arrived in the area, located, and arrested one suspect. DART Officers Alscher and Baginski located a significant amount of money and evidence from the robbery in the alley behind the store. Shortly thereafter, DART OfficersAlscher, Baginski, Osgood, and Dieck, with the assistance of SWAT Officers Edwards, Jerothe, Murray Hanley, Krieger, and District 2 Officer Krieger confronted and arrested the other two suspects from the robbery who were found hiding in a shed. The two handguns used by the robbers were found near the shed. Both handguns were real guns that were loaded when recovered. Officers Lore, Cornell, Clark, and Romero conducted an excellent investigation that led to the identification of the first suspect arrested in this case along with recovering additional evidence and incriminating statements made by the suspects.

The timely response, quick thinking, and diligent investigation conducted by these officers removed three dangerous gang members and two handguns off the streets. It also provided valuable information that linked one of the suspects to another armed robbery of the same Cricket store earlier this year and assisted with an on-going bank robbery investigation being conducted by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force. These officers are commended for a job well done. 

This level of detail has not yet been shared in the case of the Vinzant shooting.

Indeed, Jerothe wasn't even interviewed by investigators looking into the case until yesterday, six days after the fact.

And while Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz, who's only been on the job a matter of weeks, has made numerous public statements about the importance of transparency, the relative dearth of information is a frequent complaint of those who've protested against the Vinzant shooting.

The first protest happened on Wednesday evening at the intersection of Alameda and Sable, close to where Vinzant died.

Last night's edition took place outside Aurora's municipal building. Here's a video introducing the program for the demonstration....

...followed by a clip featuring a speaker talking about distrust in the police....

...and footage capturing some emotional moments between participants in the excessive-force rally and those on hand to support the police department:

Tensions appear to be rising, and they'll likely keep doing so the longer it takes for us to learn what exactly led to the fatal shooting of Naeschylus Vinzant.

Continue for our coverage of the first Vinzant protest.

Original post, 8:32 a.m. March 12: We've been reporting about the death of Naeschylus Vinzant, a wanted felon shot and killed by police on a street near an Aurora elementary school even though he wasn't armed with a weapon at the time

Click here for more details.

Vinzant had a lengthy record that included violent crimes.

Yet given the manner of his death and the relative dearth of information that's been released to date by the Aurora Police Department (which has yet to share the name of the officer who fired the fatal shot or offer a reason why he opened fire), the incident is the latest to inspire outrage among those who feel law enforcement is too quick to pull triggers, especially when targeting people of color.

A demonstration took place yesterday featuring several of the seven children Vinzant left behind.

Some of them were too emotional to speak to media representatives covering the event.

In addition, another rally is taking place this evening in Aurora.

The Justice for Naeschylus Vinzant! Facebook page helped coordinate yesterday's protest, which was organized by Aurora Copwatch. It features photos and videos of participants who gathered at the northeast corner of Alameda and Sable, not far from where Vinzant died.

Here's one clip....

...and another:

As for this evening's protest, Vinzant isn't specifically mentioned on the following graphic, which is currently being circulated on social media. But the Aurora location suggests that his death will be a prominent reference point:
Note that the start time has now been moved an hour earlier, to 5:30 p.m.

Here's a 7News report about yesterday's rally.

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